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Old 07-08-2009, 12:09 AM   #1
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Question lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Hi all,

I am not sure what I am aiming to say here, but I can't help but feel a TREMENDOUS ammount of anxiety/sadness/pressure about my age and being single. You're probably going to laugh when i tell you that I am only 29, but given that I spent 4 years in one relationship, and two in another, both of which I thought would last, I feel at a loss and very behind where I thought I would be at this point in my life.
I know marriage is not the end all and be all answer to happiness, and that you should first learn to love yourself, and be happy being single, etc, etc.
But seriously, I am sick of it!
I broke up with my last love about 2 years ago, but it was a VERY rocky on-again-off-again break up that really tore me up. I have dated one man semi-seriously since, but he had major sexual dysfunction, and we tried to work through it, but the chemistry was pretty much detroyed in the end.
So, now I am 29, still trying to figure out my career, among other things and I just feel so lost.
I used to have a very strong sense of self, of my life goals, what I wanted to accomplish, what I wanted in a partner...and now I just don't know anymore.
I think so much of this feeling is caused by the fact that I really believed I would be married by now, or if not, at least headed towards that sort of a commitment with someone special. I thrive on intimacy and closeness and I really wanted to have a family of my own. I fear that what I once thought would happen naturally, may never happen for me. I know I must make a life for myself as well, outside of relationships, and I am doing my best, but it has been a struggle, the loneliness and pain I feel from my previous losses is still very potent.
I guess what I am saying is...is it too late??? Shoudl I be panicing when I find out hat so many of my college and high school friends are married, about to be married or have children already? I should note that I am by NO MEANS conventional, and have not followed a traditional path...
So it's not that I expected to be married young, or even wanted to be...but I did always have the fantasy and dream of finding true love, and of it lasting. Also, this was/is probably the most important thing for me in life, whether or not that is foolish, it is how i feel...I crave that closeness very deeply, and it is something I thrive with....And i am so worried it may not happen again.
Am I being absurd? Or is this a reasonabel fear? What can I do???
Sorry for sounding so ridiculous.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:26 AM   #2
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Mochi - NO you should not be panicking!! I just think you're placing your self worth and hopes for the future in the wrong area. I'm 44 and all my life I always just took for granted I would be married and have a family. I thought if you wanted it, it would happen, all you had to do is go out and live your life, keep your heart, mind and eyes open and smile and be respectful and fun loving and sooner or later you will meet the right guy. Well, at 44 I've learned the hard way that's just not how it works. My personal opinion, but I think marriage isn't a goal you can either choose to make happen or not. It involved and requires another person's free will and cooperation, and you have no control over that. You can't MAKE someone else fall in love with you. It's a blessing that is either given to you or it isn't, like being able to sing like Whitney Houston or looking like Giselle or doing math like Einstein. It's a gift, and it's not something you should pin all your hopes and dreams and build your whole future around, because it might not happen. Look at me, 44 years old and never even one real what i could really call a relationship. 8 years of online dating, social clubs, singles agencies, friends fixing me up, and not even ONE second date. I get really sad sometimes because all I ever really wanted was a loving marriage and a family of my own, but if it ain't in the cards for you, it just ain't, so you've got to do the best you can with what you have.

It may sound corny, but it's true, the most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. IT's all about the journey and what you can learn and give and receive along the way, not the destination. Hang in there, and just be the best you that you know how to be, and what you are supposed to have in life will come.

 
Old 07-08-2009, 07:50 AM   #3
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Sorry for any misspelling, I'm typing on my Blackberry while driving to work and trying to keep an eye on traffic at the same time...I know, I know, bad juju, I just had to reply before I got to work.

You should look back at many of the posts from those of us older single women on the board and realize how its completely possible for you to be a strong and independent woman who isn't hanging on to yet another failed relationship out of fear of being alone. Just look at how many of us single women here are over the age of 30 and still functioning and doing and living our lives completely but stronger than those who ARE married or in a relationship because we are doing it on our own without anyone's help. Personal triumphs mean a lot more when you have to do it alone because you have proved to yourself that you can stand strong on your own.

I keep reading all of these posts from women here that complain about their husbands and boyfriends cause they are abusive or cheating or rude or disrespectful or just a loser in general and I keep saying to myself geez am I glad that's not me! I don't ever want to settle like they are ever again! I did that for too long and now its time to get serious and stand firm on what I will or won't put up with again. Yes it takes longer to find someone but I refuse to ever be one of these women on here whose life sucks due to the shmoe she chooses to stay with despiite growing problems in the relationship.

I'm almost 36 and so what? I also own my own home and have a career that motivates me and a cat whose unconditional love and companionship and loyalty have been far greater than I've gotten from any human being in this world.

Besides, relationships are too time consuming and there's too much more fun stuff to do without having someone who takes time away from all of that fun stuff!

Last edited by Kszan; 07-08-2009 at 08:07 AM.

 
Old 07-08-2009, 07:57 AM   #4
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Wow, can I absolutely relate to you. I am in the exact same position and very much worrying about the same things you are. I too am 29, will be 30 in a few months, and never thought I would be single at this age. As with you, I dated my fair share of men and had two serious relationships, one for 2+ years and one for 1.5 years, the latter which just ended a few weeks back (posts herein). I thought each of those guys were right for me. I was in love with each and seriously saw a future together with each. And each ended because they said they were not sure about what they wanted, when really what they meant was they were pretty sure I was not the right person for them. As if going through two back-to-back horrendous breakups isn't shattering enough, now I have to wonder if my intuition is way off to be so sure these guys were "the one" and to be so totally wrong about it. And to boot, nothing is a better kicker on the self esteem than suddenly being single when you thought you'd be planning a wedding and to have the dreaded 30th around the corner.

Being dumped is an enormous kick to the ego, as we all know. With the first major breakup, which was truly shattering and shook me to the core, and now with my more recent breakup, which sounds similar to yours, following a tumultuous relationship, I turned it inward, wondering what the heck was wrong with ME. I am the only common denominator in these tragic breakups, so what is it about me that doesn't work for long term? It is natural to do that but can be hard to stop the self blame, too. I also tried to do what everyone advised: focus on myself. With the first breakup, I worked very hard to move myself forward even though I was emotionally struggling. I was unhappy with my career at that point, which sounds similar to where you are at, and so I worked to find a better position and company for me and switched jobs. I moved into my own apartment. I joined a book club. I traveled to visit friends and family. I signed up for classes at the gym, started running road races, just tried to keep moving and be active. It helped and gave me more focus while I was working through the pain of the breakup. My most recent boyfriend of 1.5 years ended things with me three weeks ago. I turned to the same activities to try to help me take my mind off of it and all the sadness of a failed relationship. Running, seeing friends, being busy. Even during the times I cognizantly know I am simply filling my time, it brings a sense of accomplishment. It is so easy to lose part of yourself in a relationship -- you just focus on the other person more and less on yourself. So now is the time for you, and me too, to put ourselves first and focus on us. With or without a guy, it's important. I can relate to your feelings of just being a little lost in life right now. It is hard to navigate the waters at times without someone special at your side. But it is also a good time to figure out how to make things better in your own life. Take stock of your health and happiness -- physically, emotionally, mentally and if one area is flagging try to work out how it can be fixed. What are you unhappy about that you can change in your life? Work? Hobbies? Network of friends? It can be empowering to make small steps to change things for the better, enrich your life.

I also very much know your feelings of wanting what others have. I have friends on their third kids and I want nothing more than a husband, house and family. I am sick of waiting for it to be my turn, I am ready now for it. The gap between single and married friends just keeps growing bigger and I am fearful as you are that I will wind up single and alone, with no companionship or love in my life, unless I wind up with ten cats and become THAT scary lady. I am afraid the charmed life I so envy of others will pass me by. I'll never find the right person. I'll wind up in these 1-2 year relationships that end suddenly until I just give up and have zero faith in love. I've been to a zillion weddings and baby showers, been a bridesmaid five times, and just feel so far behind from my friends. They're lapping me. They have nice houses and I rent an apartment. They have loving husbands and I am suddenly single. They have babies and mommy groups and I have, what, my spinning class? They say not to worry, not to be on a schedule, things will happen for me when they happen. But I wonder why I have to be the example of it happening when it happens. Why couldn't I find the right person and get married at 25 like all of my friends did? It is frustrating, scary, demoralizing and depressing. I want you to know I share your fears and think they're pretty common. I guess all we can do is nurture that glimmer of hope that we will have the lives we want some day. Because the alternative, giving up and shutting down, may be even a harder road to travel.

 
Old 07-08-2009, 08:20 AM   #5
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

There also comes a point where we need to stop focusing on what others have but we don't, because beneath all of that facade of "happy family with 2.5 kids, a house with a white picket fence and a dog" is usually a lot of problems. Whether it's financial problems, sexual problems, addictions, lack of personal free time, whatever the case may be, just because someone you know is married and has kids doesn't mean they are any happier than you are. You may think they are because they seemingly have what you don't, but I'll bet you they wish sometimes they were in our position with no parental responsibilities or deep debt issues because junior needed his braces this year or whatever. As single women, we can pack up and leave for London at a moment's notice if we feel like it. Those married women with kids? Not So Much! If we feel like going to a rock concert 5 weekends in a row, we don't have anyone telling us "No there's other plans and you can't go without me." Our possibilities for what we can do with our lives, as single women, are endless right now. I know for a fact there are times these married mommies wish they had even just a minute of relaxation away from the constant need for attention that happens 24/7 in their lives between kids and husband and pets.

What I'm trying to say, as cliche as it sounds, the grass is not always greener! Come on, seriously, the proof is in the posts on this board where you've got so many women in miserable relationships! They're married and have kids, but do they look happy to you? Not So Much! Marriage and kids does not automatically equal happiness. Yes it's something many of us grew up wanting to have, but as we have gotten older and seen our friends go down that path, we realize when we look really closely that they are not as happy as they seem. Over 15 years ago the statistic was that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, so those odds aren't all that great for anyone. And of the 12 or so weddings I've attended in the last 15 years, only like 3 of them are still married to the same people. Kinda makes you sit back and wonder.....

Don't fool yourself into thinking people are getting together and getting married because they are actually truly happy and in love. That's not realistic anymore. It doesn't happen often. Because more often than not, one or the other person in the relationship starts getting bored and probably ends up having an affair and then all hell breaks loose. That's not a happy thing to have to deal with. But being single, you don't have to even worry about that drama. You have no one there to always disappoint you or make you feel bad. You just have an entire world out there just waiting for you to experience things and do things and try new stuff you've never done before!

I'm not saying it's wrong to want to have the marriage and family thing. That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm just saying that it's pointless to pine over something that keeps appearing to you as being all wine and roses when in fact majority of the seemingly happy married couples you know are likely just putting on a front for people but when they go home at night are fighting like cats and dogs or even ignoring each other completely because there's some new problem or old problem that never got resolved. That's reality. Not the "living in a house that's green" life like Audrey dreamed about in Little Shop of Horrors. Great movie, by the way!

 
Old 07-08-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Another way to look at this whole thing is for you to think about how much more trapped you would feel if you had kids with any of the guys from your prior relationships that didn't work out. Too many people end up staying together long after their relationship is already down the toilet "for the sake of the kids". Be grateful that you have not ended up in that position!

I tend to think about that a lot. If I ended up married to any of the goobers that I've dated and heaven forbid had any kids with any of them, I'm certain my life would be miserable right now! And that feeling of relief of not being forever tied to any of them through children is something for which I'm very grateful. I think you should consider it too and realize things could be so much worse and you've actually got it pretty good right now. Sure lonely sometimes but that's so much better than feeling trapped and scared and mortally concerned for the wellbeing of your kids.

 
Old 07-08-2009, 06:26 PM   #7
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Maybe you should focus on your inner self. Ask yourself why you chose those two men, what attracted you to them, what did they have that you want(ed). The most important question is, do you feel like you deserve the best? Do you feel that you are a beautiful, loving person who deserves someone equally wonderful and loving? If you can answer these with a yes, you're half-way to finding someone who is right for you.

I find that most people are afraid of happiness. It may be that you did everything right and that you were a good match for those two guys, but that they somehow couldn't accept being happy. Or maybe you couldn't accept being happy and somehow pushed them away. When you're happy with someone, you also become horribly afraid of losing them. The greater the happiness, the greater the fear. I believe that's why it's so hard for most of us to enter into a sincere, deep and happy relationship. It leaves you so vulnerable and we mostly hate vulnerability.

I found the book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes an amazing tool for self-growth and learning, I suggest you look into it. Also, anything you wish for from a partner you must learn to give yourself. Closeness, intimacy, etc....have you ever hugged yourself with love? It's such an amazing experience. Hug yourself and stroke your hair and tell yourself it's ok. Take care of your inner child. I can't tell you how powerful this is. Give yourself all the love and compassion you can.

Your fear is completely normal by the way. I'd be equally afraid if I was in your position. Heck, I'm afraid that might happen to me too, even though I'm 25 and in a steady, loving relationship. You just never know what can happen in life. But the good side is, nowadays you can become pregnant at 40+ (with some help perhaps) and you can still build a family. So you do have time yet to first find yourself and then the right partner. In the end it won't matter where you are in relation to others but that you're where you want to be.

 
Old 07-08-2009, 09:49 PM   #8
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Oh my gosh please dont worry. You are so young and you have so many many good years ahead of you. If you ask me our biological clocks and the idea of marriage are out of sync. I think most of us, women that is, don't know what we truly want or how to get into a healthy relationship and love until we are into our 30s. Obviously this triggers the biological clock issue but if things were ideal, 30s and 40s be the best time to have a baby, when you are truly good with yourself but it doesn't work that way.

my point here is that you are really young and you shouldn't even worry. i know it's hard to disengage from the pressures of society and what our friends are all doing, but don't even sweat it, at 29! Focus on you, fill your life with friends, family, the things you love. make sure you are at the top of your game and then you'll be ready when the right man comes along.

 
Old 07-08-2009, 11:46 PM   #9
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Thanks everyone for such thoughtful responses!!
I know, I know...I should not worry: that's what everyone keeps telling me, and what I keep telling myself. And the fact is, most of my friends are not married, or necessarily headed that direction with someone. However, some of them are, and they seem so fulfilled.

Part of me agrees that I have time, but a large part of me fears I do not: that that is just something people arbitrarily say to reassure you.
I may be feeling differently if I did not still miss my ex tremendously, that said, i may not still be missing him if I had met someone else by now.
I know there is time, but really how much time? And I also know I should love myself, and I do...But I cannot pretend, nor do I want to that partnership is something I really want, perhaps need. I fought this notion for a long time, but now I can be more forgiving of myself, maybe it is ok if what I really want is intimacy, sex and companionship.
I understand very well that things are not always what they seem, and that the grass may be greener, but often marriages are quite troubled and deceptive. I realize that, and I fear that as well, which is some of why I ended things with my last boyfriend: I felt I deserved better.
But now I worry I was too unforgiving. Maybe I missed a great chance at love.
No point in pining over the past, I know....I have spent a long time doing so. But how do i truly "move forward?'
This loneliness and loss eats away at me, it haunts my dreams and aches very often.
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:46 AM   #10
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

It's certainly difficult. I can get a good night's sleep now but basically am in the same position. Life seems to have passed by but I'm not entirely sure what I have to show for it or what to do next. Try and think also of some of the advantages of being on your own, like missing out on the hassle sides of relationships, though obviously you miss the good points.

It's tricky when you feel you have high standards too, because it feels like you have to lower your standards just to meet someone "ok" rather than someone excellent, and that then feels like you're not being entirely true to your own needs/wants for someone. And if you felt you deserved better than your last partner of course you raise the bar a little higher.

I think just try to be pragmatic.. someone will crop up at some point, and probably when you're not trying to fix feeling alone.

 
Old 07-09-2009, 10:11 AM   #11
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

I think it's a mistake to try to find someone when you're reeling from a breakup and feeling sad and lonely. You just want that loneliness to go away, NOW, and you latch on to the first one that comes along to relieve those feelings. Then, guess what the result is? Another failed relationship, because you were so desperate to not be alone that you chose poorly, at a time when your judgment was less than clear.

I made that mistake...I was having a hard time with the guy I had been dating for almost 3 years, and then along came a guy who I'd dated 5 years earlier. I'd left him because he was a cheater and a liar who was trying to "hook up" with as many girls as possible. I was one of many and I didn't want that. In the 5 years we'd been broken up, I didn't regret for one second leaving him. But when I was feeling hurt and vulnerable from the relationship that wasn't working, he was there and I made the poor decision to give him another chance, since he'd been trying during that entire 5 years. HUGE mistake! A lying cheater is a lying cheater, and guess what he did the second time around? Lied and cheated! If I hadn't been so desperate to fill that space the other guy had left, I would have been able to see clearly enough to know that letting this guy have another chance was stupid. So I allowed him back and basically wasted 4 years on this guy who I wouldn't have given a second thought to if I'd been thinking rationally.

That's why I've decided on a 6 month break from dating. Any dating. I'm 2 months into my breakup with this lying cheater and I know my judgment is poor right now. I don't want to subject myself to some potentially nice guy, and I don't want to allow some jerk a chance because I just want someone, anyone to fill the empty space.

Oh, and for the record, my dearest friend didn't marry until she was in her mid-thirties. She is married and has a daughter. So life and the possiblity of marriage and children doesn't end at 30!

 
Old 07-09-2009, 02:20 PM   #12
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

I can't believe what I'm reading. I think someone just wrote my biography with a few minor differences. I'm so feeling the same thing. I'm 31, single, and wanting. How is that for an advertisement? The only one of my friends still single. All others, married, house, kids, or getting there. I spend so much time alone I can't stand it. I have wonderful friends who I do see but I don't want to be a burden to them. How can I have many friends and still feel so alone and lost? I've done the internet thing, tried singles events. I don't want to think of the money I've shelled out. I'm done with that but don't know what to do with myself. I have a great career that I've worked hard for. I can say I'm proud that I'm purchasing a house on my own but there is still that person missing. That companion I want. I've suffered from depression for many years and have a better hold of it now than I ever have. It comes out once and while, and fierce. I had a lot of weight issues when I was younger. At the age of 31 I'm still a virgin. I don't ridicule myself for it but wonder if I will write it on my tombstone. (trying to be funny.) Haven't had a long term relationship. Longest was 3 months, which just ended a few months back. I miss him terribly. We communicate once and a while. We went to high school together and met up again on a very popular networking site. Dated for 3 months and had a wonderful time. It ended b/c he is separated and needs to figure all of that out. He is a Marine so came back from Iraq in September. His ex cheated on him and I know he has a lot to deal with and handle. He is a great guy...sucks right? Might be easier if he was a jerk but he wasn't. We accepted each other for who we are...virgin and all. Every other guy ran but he stuck around. It took pressure off of the relationship. I can't not give him his space. Whenever we would communicate after we broke up, it was me reaching out. Nothing crazy, just hellos, how are you, here and there. He'd always respond but never initiated. Until June....3 months after we broke up, he contacted me online. We had a 30 minute convo...just general, how are you. I was shocked he contacted me. Is it ironic that the day before I picked up something in his yard that belonged to me? We didn't see each other, he was working. I asked for it for a while but I think we both avoided me picking it up. Am I dumb to think he held on to it to hold on to me? Before I met him, I finally felt content. Like if it's going to happen, it's going to happen. Then I met him. Go figure! So I'm trying hard to find that content feeling but struggling. I miss him. I truly feel he wanted to be with me but scared himself and needs to deal with his issues at the same time. So here I am trying to find me.....

 
Old 07-10-2009, 08:45 AM   #13
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mochi* View Post
But I cannot pretend, nor do I want to that partnership is something I really want, perhaps need.
I agree that you shouldn't pretend. Partnerships can be difficult, but not ALL are and you really don't have to feel so negative towards the idea to make yourself feel better just because you're single. It may help somewhat, but it won't solve your problem - until you start really believing it, and then it's unlikely you will ever enter into a relationship (why would you want to at this point, if it's so bad?).

Saying that you still have time is not just trying to make you feel better. It's true. I know lots of women who found the right partner and had children after 30. It is true, however, that time is running different for you now than it was 10 years ago. You have 15 years at the most to find a partner and have kids yourself (you can always adopt later). Sooner is better, of course, but you do have some leeway and there's no need to panic. There may be a need to start looking more actively once you grieve your previous relationship.

That doesn't mean you need join any dating sites or put up announcements etc., but keeping your eyes and your mind a little bit more open and considering also different types of guys, the ones you previously never gave a second look.

About that, I found that after the horrible relationship with my ex I suddenly realized what I wanted - a good, honest guy who will cherish and respect me. I had great luck to have found him. The "good guy" type I previously found completely unappealing, unmanly and so on. And once I realized which guys are suitable to build a life together, I found I was surrounded by them! What's more, they are actually all attractive, appealing guys - though maybe only to a woman who knows what she's looking for! Most women would probably pass my boyfriend by without a second glace, but I consider them blind and count myself lucky.

Once you change your outlook and your priorities, and most importantly, your own self-esteem (you have to know in your soul that you only deserve the best and refuse to accept anything else), the type of guys you are attracted to may change drastically - and increase your chances of finding the right partner.

 
Old 07-11-2009, 02:32 PM   #14
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Re: lost love, moving on, and feeling far behind...

You are not being absurd. I can understand with why you feel this way. However,- and i'm saying this will completely good intent and respectfully- it might be helpful to gain some perspective.

You are young, after all. We guys don't have to worry as much as women do about the biological clock ticking. Unless, we're like 90 years old, but you're no where near that.

I'm actually a guy around your age. I'm in my mid-late twenties (26) and I don't have a girlfriend yet.

But, right now, I realize that I should focus on my career goals. I can totally understand that you are questioning yourself right now. But know this, you seem like a great guy, and build your identity around your personality and being a nice person, not around your relationship status.

However, I do totally understand your feelings which are completely normal. With all the other posters including me finding ourselves in the same situation, know this: you are not alone. There are many guys, like me and the other poster, who are the only single guy among all our guy friends. It just seems like something is wrong because all our friends are married and we're not. However, you now realize that there are plenty of other guys like us "out there" who are good, decent guys who are still single. So, you're not "odd."

I find that you actually have an advantage over these other guys. As we all mature, we start knowing what we really want out of life. Perhaps this is a way for you (and I, as well, as I am in the exact same boat) to grow as well and figure out what you really want to do with your life. Believe me, when that woman comes along, she will be worth the wait. You both will be more mature and thus have a much healthier relationship than if you rushed it.

Last edited by kevpark; 07-11-2009 at 02:37 PM.

 
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